Friday, December 2, 2011


I am a grandfather of five, three boys and two girls. The oldest girl is eleven and her two brothers are nine and seven. Their cousins are a boy soon to be seven, and a girl who is four. The four year old comes to our home twice each week so her mom can go to work for those days. I hug each child when we see one another. They permit me to do that, and they seem to enjoy the caress of attentive love. That littlest one, four years old is at a rewarding stage for me. She loves to be cuddled. She curls on my lap and snuggles. We look into one another’s eyes and call each other outlandish funny names. We play eye spy with my little eye. We paint, we read, we watch cartoons. And she may sit for hours on the floor with a doll house and a castle of plastic and little synthetic people and carry on true to life conversations, until she says something out of character like, “just get on with it.” To which I have said, “Did you just say “Get on with it” and she has replied, “No she did,” her finger pointing to one of the little people.

Ayn at play
Derek must long to wrap his arms around his girl, to see her eyes, and the soft smile on her lips, to hear her laugh, to hear the sound of her voice.” He must miss the touch of her skin. The physical longing for his own daughter of the same substance as himself must at times be unbearable.

Of course he could satisfy himself and even persuade himself that Ayn is aching to see him too. I have instinctively felt that he should visit Ayn, and yet I have read his carefully considered rationale for holding back from visiting her. I have come to respect his decision because I conclude it requires a depth of love greater than most of us have envisaged. His love will not consent to breaking her heart. That would surely happen if he said goodbye and left again without taking her home.

I blame the Ministry of Children and Family Development Abbotsford office for this situation. But that is too nonspecific. I blame the social workers who were originally assigned to the Ayn Van Dyk case. What is the situation? What is the case? The situation is easier to explain than is the case. The situation is that this nine year old girl has been kept from her father for almost six months. She is living in a foster care home. She is receiving medication and at times this has been a strong anti-psychotic treatment. The case consists of what? Derek does know. The presenting grounds we can cite. Ayn left her yard and went to a neighbour’s home. Her father could not find her. A police search located her three hours later playing in the neighbour’s yard. There may have been other factors that deemed her location and absence an at-risk episode. This would seem an ah-ha moment, a teaching moment when social workers might take whatever time was required to go over with Derek, all of the precautions that satisfy the Ministry that a child is secure. But the family development component of this Ministry’s mandate was abandoned in lieu of the determination to take Ayn away, have her examined as to her autistic condition and whether medications can make her more manageable. So instead the social workers opted for the opinion that this child required protection and that was best achieved by taking her away. There never was any intention of sensibly talking with Derek about reasons for this episode or ways to prevent a reoccurrence. Rather, social workers came to Derek ostensibly to inquire what happened when Ayn escaped the fenced yard, but they quickly changed topic to request that he voluntarily agree to let them take Ayn supposedly for the short term. They had a form for him to sign for this purpose, ready among their documents. He was understandably furious and resistance to this course of action, so the social workers left, and four days after Ayn’s flight to freedom she became a detainee – lifted our of her school when her parents were not there and were not informed. So for the past 5.5 months this girl has agonized and cried and puzzled and wondered and struggled and hoped and still for these social workers an Ayn is our of sight and out of their consciousness. What a despicable line of work this is when it is done like this, so incompetently, so amateurishly, so heartlessly. What has this achieved for Ayn? How has it benefited her? It was purportedly done in her best interests. Have you heard that before? No, this has harmed her. Perhaps we cannot know how this treatment has weakened her social development. When she is at last returned to Derek, he will be the one who must handle the challenges of her deterioration of trust and confidence and self esteem. There has been no disclosure about the MCFD’s reason for taking Ayn. So what was it? Precaution? Nonsense, she has escaped twice while in care. She has been drugged, under medical supervision, of course! To no effective purpose!

Derek must long to hold Ayn close, never wanting to let go. He didn’t think he would have to let go this time.


  1. MCFD has gone far beyond their initial purpose of protecting children that do need to be protected from abusive family circumstances. They have over time become the abusers. Taking some children from families where there is no indication or proof of neglect or abuse. Going against their very own protocol to investigate allegations and put supports in place where they are able that would strengthen the family unit. Instead they hide behind their blanket statement of "best interest of the child" and arbitrarily remove that child even from a proven loving environment.
    A part of where this becomes even more abusive to the child aside from removing the child from it's bonds of the family is the absolute psychological fallout on that child and the rest of the family.
    On account of the lack of due process at the ministry and courts hands, the bonds the child has with their own family are broken and it is indeed the intent of MCFD that the child form a strong bond with the foster family in place of it's own.
    Psychologically this means that the child must after this catastrophic loss, go through the whole grieving process ie: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression,Acceptance.
    The parent as well as all siblings must go through the same process all the while being required to work with the perpetrators of this abuse in order to try to secure their child back home where they belong.
    If and when that return is accomplished after months, sometimes years, a different psychological process begins.
    When the child is returned the family of course attempts to resume where they left off only to find that nothing will ever be the same again. The bond between family and child has been broken and forcibly replaced.A considerable amount of time must be spent redeveloping a new bond with the child and dealing with the added complications of abandonment and broken trust issues as well as the throws of the grieving process again as the child must go through the break of another bond with the foster family and the natural family must as well go through that process again due to the realization of the time they will never ever get back with their child that they lost.
    For a parent of, and a child with a disability, all of this is compounded and much more of a challenge (amidst the already present tremendous challenges) as many children with disabilities before being able to work with anyone to increase their skill levels and modify their behavior, must be able to trust that person explicitly.
    When the bonds of trust have been broken they are not easily mended.
    A very traumatic and abusive situation imposed on a child by MCFD.

  2. We will continue to pray and never give up hoping that Derek and Ayn will be together very soon, not to be separated again.

  3. Ron;this is a very sad situation indeed. Social workers and directors will make blunders, but what really bothers me is that there is no reasonable way of holding them accountable, or obtaining redress. The super-expensive court system is useless at protecting families from the ministry and it is only avaiable to those with deep pockets. All the internal review systems simply offer process and spin and a circular tour. So an atrocity like the one committed on little Ayn can continue for a year, or two or three while the wounds deepen. The law means nothing.
    In the Bayne case, we saw how the only concern of the court appeared to be process and damage control. Not damage control to the child--dear me no. Damage control for the director and for his nibs on the bench. So we now have a new minister, director and deputy minister, but the spin does not change.
    Next week I want to write as to how I imagine the process goes in the director's office, while they discuss how to spin the case of Derek Hoare. Don't miss this next exciting installment!


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